*Restates Call For True Federalism, Equity In Nigeria
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has expressed appreciation to former Head of State, late General Sani Abacha, over the creation of the state 25 years ago on October 1, 1996.
Governor Diri said the people of his homogeneous Ijaw state remain grateful to the late Nigerian leader for that singular decision regardless of factors that could have hindered the state’s creation.
He stated this on Sunday during a thanksgiving service on Nigeria’s 61st independence and Bayelsa State’s 25th anniversary at the King of Glory Chapel in Government House, Yenagoa.
His Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, quoted the governor as eulogising Abacha, noting that the late Head of State remains a hero to people of the state and indeed the Ijaw nation.
He said: “Let me use this medium to thank one man. He may not be popular in Nigeria but to me and all of us Bayelsans, we see him as a great man, a hero. The man who by the stroke of the pen signed the creation of Bayelsa State. I am talking about the late General Sani Abacha.
“We acknowledge him as a state and people. By his singular assent, he created this state with just eight local government areas, which was less than the constitutional requirements.”
Speaking on Nigeria’s 61st independence anniversary, the Bayelsa helmsman called on the Federal Government to ensure justice and equity in the distribution of resources in the country.
Diri expressed dissatisfaction with the present lopsided federal structure where the federal government takes resources from states and decides what is given to each state at the end of every month.
He said if the country was allowed to practice true federalism, it would enable the states as federating units to control their resources and contribute to the central government.
He also expressed his belief that Nigeria would be a great country if there was justice and equity as each state had abundant resources that could be harnessed for development of the country.
He called for amendment of the Petroleum Industry Act to increase the 3% allotted to host communities to 10% as well as include states and local governments as trustees in implementationof the host community fund.
Describing the Act as a recipe for anarchy in the Niger Delta, Diri said the exclusion of states and local governments in the implementation of the law would give room to unscrupulous elements to capitalise on the loopholes and cause crisis in communities as it would be difficult to determine host communities.
“I call on Mr President to ensure that there is justice, equity and fairness in the distribution of resources in our dear country. Let there be a new wind in the governance of this country. The PIA is not just and equitable to the people of the Niger Delta and Bayelsa State.
“If the Act will be implemented successfully, let me call on Mr President to also send another amendment bill to include the states and local governments in the administration of the law.”
The governor urged Bayelsans to celebrate and appreciate their past and present leaders, saying that each leader had contributed in various ways to develop of the state.
He acknowledged that more needed to be done in terms of development but that the state had witnessed a lot of development compared to what it was.
The governor, who called on Bayelsans to pray for good leaders, also charged leaders at various levels to work hard to bequeath a prosperous society by doing the right things.